“Sadly, it's much easier to create a desert than a forest.”
BLM Land Acquisition Adds 900 Acres to Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to Biodiversity
The Pacific Forest Trust Moves Closer to Fully Conserving Lands Within the Monument’s Planning Boundaries with Milestone Sale, the First of 5,000 Acres to be Transferred to Public Ownership
ASHLAND, OREGON (Jan. 15, 2009) – The Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), today announced the conservation of approximately 900 acres that have been added to the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, the nation’s first monument created solely for the preservation of biodiversity.
The Pacific Forest Trust, a non-profit conservation organization, previously purchased the property from Forest Capital Partners to hold in trust until the BLM could acquire the land and officially designate it as part of the Monument. The newly conserved acreage includes critical wetlands and wildlife habitat and will expand the buffer zone of conserved property around BLM land containing stands of old growth trees. Now open to the public, the tracts also include a popular section of the Pacific Crest Trail, one of three transcontinental trails in the U.S. and the Monument’s primary hiking experience.
“This acquisition represents a major step toward conserving nearly 5,000 acres of threatened forests, meadows and wetlands within the Monument’s planning boundaries that currently are not protected by the CSNM federal designation,” said Laurie Wayburn, PFT president and co-founder. “We want to commend those who have supported this initiative, including those who financed the project, Oregon’s congressional delegation, the Bureau of Land Management and the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council. Our combined efforts have helped safeguard this important haven for biodiversity in the Klamath-Siskiyou region,” Wayburn added.
Though 60 percent of the land located within the CSNM planning boundaries is publicly owned and conserved, thousands of key acres within the Monument’s planning area are not protected under its federal designation. Recognizing the need to act quickly to protect the most important and vulnerable parcels, PFT has been acquiring threatened lands when they became available for purchase. To date, PFT has purchased 4,720 acres. These lands are being held in trust until the BLM can acquire and add them to the Monument.
Today’s announcement marks the first transfer of these lands to public ownership.
“This acquisition will help create a more cohesive landscape allowing for more effective management,” said John Gerritsma, BLM Ashland Resource Area Manager. “Including these parcels in the monument will provide important wildlife corridors for many avian species with protected status including the northern spotted owl, bald eagle, northern goshawk and the pileated woodpecker, and protect several critical wetlands.”
This land transfer delivers on the promise made by PFT’s Campaign to Complete the Vision of a more fully conserved Monument. The CSNM was established in 2000 to help conserve a vital region that is home to more than 3,500 plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. The Monument itself is known for its complex, interconnected biological and geological features that support a tremendous variety of species in a geographically small area, encompassing high desert plant life of the Great Basin and flora and fauna of the Cascade Range and Pacific Coast temperate rainforests. The impressive array of wildlife found there includes Northern Spotted owls, Peregrine falcons, elk, Pacific tree frogs, redband trout and 120 species of butterfly.
PFT secured the property with funding from the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Bullitt and Weeden Foundations and a number of individuals. Soon after, Western lawmakers joined forces to convey the land to public ownership. U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) led the efforts to secure appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which funded the transfer. The Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, which has championed the effort to establish and fully conserve the CSNM, also made important contributions as a key PFT partner.
“The Pacific Forest Trust has been a great partner in the long struggle we’ve fought to conserve land within the Monument,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “The Monument’s unique biological diversity is a fragile treasure that we can’t let slip away. A key step in that process will be working with the BLM to acquire these critical lands so that they will benefit our environment and our country for generations to come.”
These properties will join together previously fragmented sections of conserved land within the Monument’s planning boundaries, improving protection of its wildlands, watersheds and wildlife habitat. By purchasing and safeguarding these properties, PFT and its partners also are helping to unify the region under a common conservation strategy.
“The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument serves as a biological gateway to the globally significant Klamath-Siskiyou eco-region,” said Dave Willis, chair of the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council. “This transfer is a wonderful start in working with willing sellers to enhance the Monument’s ecological integrity. We’re very grateful that the Pacific Forest Trust has made the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument a priority. There’s a lot more good work to do, and we look forward to continued partnership with them.”
About The Pacific Forest Trust
The Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) is the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining America’s vital working forests for all their public benefits – wood, water, wildlife and a well-balanced climate. PFT strives to keep these vast and vital forests working by pursuing a comprehensive strategy to Retain, Sustain and Gain. PFT helps Retain our nation’s infrastructure by directly conserving critical forestlands in the Pacific West. PFT helps Sustain working forests by practicing state-of-the-art forest stewardship practices on the thousands of acres it manages in the Pacific West. And PFT helps landowners and the public Gain from working forests by leading regional and national efforts to develop new eco-system services that yield financial returns from management practices that reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, enhance watershed quality and protect fish and wildlife habitat. The Pacific Forest Trust is headquartered in San Francisco, California and has additional offices in Oregon, Washington state, New England and Washington D.C. To learn more about PFT, please visit: http://www.PacificForest.org.
About the Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more land – 256 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
About the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is part of the Bureau’s National Landscape Conservation System, created in June 2000 to bring into a single system some of the most remarkable landscapes found on public lands in the west. In total, the Bureau manages over 800 units in the National Landscape Conservation System including National Conservation Areas, National Monuments, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historical Trails, and Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas. The Monument’s remarkable ecology is a product of its location at the crossroads of two different mountain ranges – the Cascades and the Siskiyous – as well as its proximity to the Great Basin.